Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Call To Action!!!
The Chamber needs your help now! Please contact your State Representative and State Senator to tell them you OPPOSE the passage of H.5413 and S.290. These bills would mandate businesses to provide the most generous paid leave benefit in New England, (it is more generous than any other state law) to their employees.
H.5413 and S.290 require the following:
Time can also be taken for domestic violence issues, if a school is closed for a health emergency or if the employee or someone with affinity is being stalked.
Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and report any response back to the Chamber. Thank you!!!
Phase Three of Legislative Session Underway
As stated previously in UTD, the legislature has entered phase three of the legislative session. A majority of the hearings have taken place, and negotiations between the House, Senate and Governor’s office have begun over bills that may pass during session. This process requires both leadership teams to determine which bills have general support from the members of the legislature. The Revenue Estimating Conference ends this week, meaning all three branches will agree on a final revenue number for the 2018 fiscal year budget and negotiations on the budget will accelerate as well. All of this flurry of activity signals the legislature’s desire to adjourn sometime in mid to late June. Whether they achieve that goal is largely based on the ability to resolve differing budget priorities.
Senate Labor Committee Schedules Vote on Lien Bill - Wednesday
S.192, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Payment of Wages is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday, May 10th in the Senate Labor Committee. This bill would allow employees to place a lien on an employer’s property if he/she believes wages have not been properly paid. The process is as follows:
S.192 provides little due process rights for employers and encourages employees to use the process because the employee has no costs associated with sending a letter, and very little cost for filing a lien. Additionally, even if the employer believes no wages are owed, it will be cheaper to pay the employee the amount demanded than to pay court fees and attorney fees to fight and unfounded or misunderstood claim. It is important to note that the Department of Labor and Training supported the concept of the bill.
The Chamber opposes the passage of S.192. Please contact your Senator to express your opposition to this bill.
Senate Environment Amends Bill to Double Tax
S.442, An Act Relating to Waters and Navigation – Climate Change Coastal Adaptation Trust Fund, was amended last week and is headed for the Senate floor. In the original form, S.442 called for a doubling of the petroleum per barrel that was first adopted in 1989. The 5 cents per barrel fee was adopted to create a fund to allow DEM to quickly react to any petroleum spill in the coastal waters of RI. However the fund has been “raided” over the years for other projects. S.442 would have doubled the tax to 10 cents per barrel – raising an additional $1.8 million a year for projects made necessary due to rising tides and flooding. The Senate Committee passed S.442SubstituteA creating the Climate change coastal Adaptation Trust Fund, but eliminated the new 5 cent per barrel fee. The new version allows for money to be designated out of the general revenue fund at the legislature’s discretion, allows for the receipt of grant money and donations.
The following new bills were filed:
House Bill No. 6184, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS -- PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION (Precludes electric distribution companies from including their gas transmission contracts or cost of facilities in the rate base for electricity customers.)
House Bill No. 6192, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES (Exempts both the land and building of the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre in Woonsocket and as identified by street address and plat and lot number.)
House Bill No. 6193, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES (Prohibits individuals from completing alcohol-server training requirements from online or Internet sources.)
House Bill No. 6198, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- TEMPORARY DISABILITY INSURANCE (Allows employees, of an employer that sponsors disability insurance programs, to elect to exempt them from temporary disability insurance coverage.)
"Big news, yogis!! First of all, as you may have noticed, we are changing the name of our studio - our new name is "Rhode Island Hot Yoga." This is because we are not just in the East Bay anymore - we are opening a 2nd location!
Our new studio will be located at 166 Valley St in Providence, in the space that was previously occupied by Boiler House Yoga. We'll begin our renovations next week, which will continue through the month of May, and we plan to open on Saturday, June 3rd.
Our yoga classes are not changing a bit - we will continue to offer the same great yoga with the same amazing teachers. Our memberships will be valid at both locations, so you will have more class options than ever!
I encourage you to check out our new website which will answer many of your questions, especially for the former students of Boiler House Yoga. We deeply appreciate your support during this transition period, and we will keep you updated on our progress."
Governor Raimondo Holds RI Promise Conference Call
Governor Raimondo held a RI business community conference call with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam participating as her guest. The state of Tennessee has a tuition program that is a little different than the RI proposal in that it only covers 2 years of free tuition at a community college. Governor Raimondo began by talking about the necessity for individuals to earn a college education in order to be competitive in the economy. Governor Haslam told those on the call that his state, in 2012, conducted a study which showed that by 2025, 55% of the jobs would need a college degree At that time only 32% of TN individuals had degrees. To address the problem, they needed to “shock the system” and “giving something for nothing” - 2 years free tuition and fees – would deliver a shock. The program only requires a person to graduate from high school and maintain the academic standard for enrollment in the community college. TN did not include 4-year college tuition because it was more expensive, but it was discussed during the legislative debate. TN, being a bigger state, has a number of community colleges to choose from, whereas RI is limited. Early data from TN showed a 30% first-year increase in student enrollment in community colleges and technical schools meaning 33,000 students enrolled. In the second year, TN experienced a 63% re-enrollment rate; and 70% of high school seniors filled out FASA forms in the last two years. Student loan requests by TN students decreased by 17%. Additionally, TN 4-year colleges did see a minimal downturn in “less selective” four year schools when the TN program went into effect.
Responding to a question, Governor Haslam acknowledged that the TN program was probably going to pay for the education of kids that will not stay in the state, but he said he was not concerned about it. When asked about the cost of the program, the Governor stated that the costs were on target despite having more students than originally anticipated. He said the difficult part was projecting what the needs of the new students might be and matching those needs with the teaching program required. Governor Haslam wants to expand the TN program to all adults in the future, regardless of age.
Governor Raimondo said, “…the RI Promise Program is my number one priority.” The issue will continue to be debated as the budget process moves forward.
Bill Requires Language Translation of Contracts
H.6139, An Act Relating to Businesses and Professions – Translation of Legal and Financing Documents, was filed on April 26th and has been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday May 2nd. The bill requires the translation of contracts into Spanish or Japanese if the client speaks that language as their primary language, and if the contracts are related to the following business transactions: (1) automobile purchases and leases; (2) loans or other extensions of credit for use primarily for personal, family or household purposes, (except loans secured by real property); (3) consumer loans secured by real property, if arranged by a real estate loan broker, or made by a personal finance company; (4) contracts for the rental, lease or sublease of apartment, dwellings, motor vehicles and mobile homes for a period longer than one month; (5) reverse mortgages; and (6) mortgage foreclosure consulting contracts. The translation requirement does not apply if the customer negotiated the contract with the assistance of his/her own interpreter. To view further details of the bill go to http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText17/HouseText17/H6139.pdf
Senate Committee Passes Carbon Study
Last week, the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture passed S.108 which calls upon the Climate Change Coordinating Council to study the “effectiveness of the state and/or multi-state carbon pricing program to incentivize institutions and industry to reduce carbon emissions. The study must include the effectiveness of allocating revenues generated from such carbon pricing program to fund enhanced incentives to institutions and industry for targeted efficiency measures; projected emissions reductions; economic impact to businesses; any economic benefits to Rhode Island and impacts to the state's economic competitiveness if the program were implemented.”
Senate Labor Hears Testimony on Employee Liability Bill
H.773, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Unfair Employment Practices, would make employees of a defendant employer individually liable for unfair employment practices. The bill seeks to respond to a RI Supreme Court decision that denied the ability to sue an employee who sexually harassed another employee on the job. Unfortunately, the way the bill is written, it could allow an employee to sue another employee who is acting in the employer’s normal course of business, thus increasing litigation and giving plaintiffs more pockets to choose from for claims. The Chamber offered to work with the sponsor to amend the bill. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText17/SenateText17/S0773.pdf
The following new bills were filed:
House Bill No. 6139, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS -- TRANSLATION OF LEGAL AND FINANCING DOCUMENTS (Requires many consumer contracts to be translated from English to Spanish or Japanese under some circumstances.)
House Bill No. 6141, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS (Gives the department of labor and training the jurisdiction to review claims alleging that employers had improperly inquired about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application.)
House Bill No. 6143, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PARENTAL AND FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE (Grants unpaid pregnancy leave to part-time workers, clarifies their access to unpaid sick leave during their pregnancy, and provides additional protections for pregnant workers who work in the medical field.)
Senate Bill No. 815, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - RETAIL LICENSES (Creates additional restrictions on the times for which caterers with a Class P license may serve alcohol and provides for the additional penalty of possible suspension or revocation of license for violations of this section.)
First impressions mean a lot, especially in a business setting. When you first meet Yulian, you know by her smile and genuine enthusiasm that she is very engaging and dedicated. She has a unique background and is not your typical personal financial consultant.
Yulian's educational background focused on biology, clinical laboratory work, and nursing. When she came to the Untied States from China, she worked for over 16 years at Women and Infants' Hospital in several different roles. Although she finds the work gratifying, Yulian started at World Financial Group because she wanted a better opportunity with a better retirement plan. "For my entire life, I have always worked hard for money, but now I wanted to learn how to make my money work hard for me."
Not only is Yulian providing consultant to her clients but she also wants to introduce opportunity to people willing to work with her. They can grow the business together to help more people achieve financial independence. She gives presentations in which she talks about her life's experiences, and how she can relate to those who do not have a retirement plan or large savings. Her goal is to change the way people perceive their finances, which means being open to opportunities to educate themselves and feeling more comfortable talking about their financial future. World Financial Group's motto is "no family left behind," and Yulian is determined to reach as many people as possible. "I want my clients to have a piece of mind with their savings!"
Yulian is always willing to help people, especially in the financial services area. With a smile and perseverance, she truly believes that "together, we can each achieve more. "